Lowe’s Pins it to Facebook

March 29, 2012

by Julie Primrose

Typically, I would be against companies linking social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook so that the same posts update to each site.  Twitter and Facebook serve separate purposes and are intended to reach different audiences in their own distinct ways.  But I recently saw an example of one company that is leveraging the benefits of two popular social networks to effectively expand its audience engagement.

Earlier this month, Lowe’s was recognized for its decision to add a Pinterest tab to its Facebook page.  According to MediaPost, the home improvement giant was the first major brand to use the new tool to link Pinterest to its Facebook page.  Users can repin, like and comment on Lowe’s Pinterest photos without ever leaving Facebook.

The decision has proven to be a successful one for Lowe’s.  Since linking the two accounts, Lowe’s Pinterest following has grown by more than 32 percent and certain individual pinboards have seen an increase in followers of nearly 60 percent.

A recent study from RJ Metrics found that home décor, and arts and crafts are among the most popular photo categories on Pinterest.  With that in mind, it makes perfect sense for Lowe’s to be using Pinterest as part of its overall social program.  But one of the key downfalls of Pinterest is its apparent inability to attract men, arguably Lowe’s key demographic.

By allowing fans to interact directly with its Pinterest boards from inside Facebook, Lowe’s has done a great job expanding its reach, possibly even attracting more men to follow its Pinterest activities.  In this case, Lowe’s proves that, if done with the right intentions, linking social networks can be an effective way to reach a previously untapped audience.

Selling Home Furnishings Directly to You Since 1984*

March 20, 2012

by Kerry Martin

Just the other week, my husband and I bought a house.  Amid the excitement, I was also a little unnerved—not because of the unstable housing market or the feeling of buyer’s remorse—more so because of an email that was waiting for me in my personal Gmail account when I got back to my computer.

Within two hours of becoming a homeowner, I had already landed onto some email list that Restoration Hardware purchased for direct marketing.  Had I not just spent every dime I had to get that house, I would have been easily distracted by the inviting email offer for discounted drapery and rugs.  But all I could think about was “how did they get my email?!”  In all the paperwork I signed, I did not list my personal email anywhere, and I haven’t ever actually shopped at Restoration Hardware.

I have to hand it to them—this is actually an ingenious marketing campaign to get to the consumer at the right time—just when they’ve made a complementary purchase.  However, the creep factor of how they obtained this information is still a little unsettling.  If Restoration Hardware has some deal with mortgage brokers or real estate agents to capture personal information upon closing, does Zales pass along their customers’ data to wedding planners?  Will Babies “R” Us soon be able to buy patient emails from obstetricians?

What do you think?  Have you come to the point where you don’t care what “they” know about your buying habits, or does this start to feel a little too “1984” to you?

*Restoration Hardware actually started in 1979 according to Wikipedia.

Where Customer Service Begins

March 20, 2012

by Roger Pynn

I love it when my wife and her cousins get together because they represent the best female focus group I’ve ever seen.  The men folk just sit back and listen and smile … waiting for their pearls of wisdom … and as they gathered last weekend after a family funeral, they did not disappoint us when the conversation turned to washing machines.

Their universal disgust over front-loading washing machines that use less water to clean clothes … ostensibly an environmental benefit … turned quickly to a discussion of the seeming inability of manufacturers to explain to you how their products work.

Think about it.  When was the last time you bought anything … a washer and dryer, a computer, a flat screen television or a juicer – that came with simple instructions that actually helped you understand how it worked?

Our little focus group concluded that lousy instructions are perhaps the No. 1 reason they very rarely buy the same brand the next time around.  If only manufacturers could sit in my living room, they’d figure out pretty quickly that customer service isn’t something at the end of an 800 number.

Everything you do communicates … far too often, poorly.  We’re fond of talking about our Five Steps to Professional Success.  The first one says “Focus on what keeps the client awake at night.”  For us, that means our clients … but also our clients’ customers.  End users become one of two things almost from the instant you close the sale:  fanatical fans or loud critics.

Fanatical fans take up a lot less of your time on complaint lines and customer service hotlines if you worry about what keeps them awake at night … i.e., how to make your eco-friendly products do their job.  YouTube is full of videos criticizing these manufacturers.   Too bad there aren’t fanatics out there showing how much they love their new washers.

News at the Speed of Rumor

March 15, 2012

by Dan Ward

In the weeks and months leading up to Dwight Howard’s decision to stay with Orlando, we had all grown tired of the saga.  Will he?  Won’t he?  Did he?  Didn’t he?

We now know the answer (an answer that I suspect has Magic fans dancing in the streets), but in the hours prior to Dwight’s decision, media coverage provided some great comic relief.

At one point Wednesday evening, the Orlando Sentinel website was simultaneously reporting that a) Dwight was leaning toward staying another year, b) Dwight had decided to stay another year but the decision was delayed because of a paperwork snafu, and c) Dwight said he wanted to stay but refused to sign a waiver, meaning he almost certainly would be traded.  (I’m not including links to these stories because in all likelihood they will have changed by the time you read this.)

By Thursday morning, the coverage was down to only two directly opposing headlines:  “Report:  Howard has a remarkable change of heart, will opt-in for 2012-13” and “After topsy-turvy 24 hours, Magic now likely to trade Dwight Howard.”

This is what happens when your daily newspaper decides to compete with the TMZ’s of the world and report as breaking news every new rumor.  There’s no way to keep up, and the result is a mix of stories that say completely different things.

I guess there is a bright side, though.  When your newspaper publishes separate stories that cover “yes,” “no” and “maybe,” one story is bound to be correct.

KONY 2012 Spawning Good Reporting

March 9, 2012

by Roger Pynn 

The instant impact nature of YouTube is amazing.  A new “next big thing” is outstripping all those amazing viral videos that have taken us by storm in the past few years … but are we also seeing a new trend:  media taking the time to question what’s trendy?

NBC’s “Today” show has pretty much jabbered on about the phenomenon of KONY 2012’s skyrocketing viewer stats, all but ignoring their own role in driving millions to the 30-minute film (although one paragraph finally emerged in today’s coverage questioning Invisible Children).

Meanwhile, NPR , CNN, and others began to do a “whoa back” and have actually done some pretty solid reporting on the organization behind it … giving a voice to those who say you should look before you leap into a donation to Invisible Children.

That’s healthy journalism.

Media Mea Culpa Part II

March 8, 2012

by Dan Ward

I wrote recently about the positive way in which media outlets took responsibility for mistaken reporting around Joe Paterno’s death and the close-but-not close-enough way in which the Washington Post “clarified” a misleading report.

Today offered another example of a media mea culpa done right, this time using the immediacy of Twitter.

An early version of a story by Wall Street Journal reporter Julian E. Barnes stated that Sen. John McCain called for “unilateral” military strikes in Syria. Sen. McCain, however, said this wasn’t the case, taking to twitter to say that “WSJ total mischaracterized my position on #Syria today – I’ve never called for “unilateral” airstrikes.”

McCain was right. Barnes was wrong. But rather than simply draft a correction, Barnes took an additional step. He re-tweeted McCain’s comment to his followers and followed up with a tweet of his own: “That was me! I am the one who screwed up @SenJohnMcCain position on Syria. Story fixed.” He then posted the correction that has been added to the digital version of the story.

Kudos to Barnes for taking responsibility for the error, for making the effort to communicate the fix immediately, and for using strong and unambiguous language to make it clear the mistake was his.

It’s a good lesson for all of us. When you screw up, say so. As we say in our Five Steps to Professional Success, “accept total responsibility and be accountable for everything you do.” We all make mistakes. We’re judged on how we respond.

A Joyful Afternoon

March 8, 2012

by Kim Taylor

Over the holidays, the team at Curley & Pynn added a few extra items to their shopping lists—toys for a very special charity, Jarrett’s Joy Cart.

Named for Jarrett Mynear, a six-time cancer sufferer whose life was taken by the disease at age 13, the charity aims to provide joyous moments and experiences for children in crisis.

We’re proud to be led by the team at OrLANtech – who are both our friends and the leaders of the Orlando Chapter – in a toy delivery at Florida Hospital for Children in what promised to be a joyful afternoon.

Want in on the joy?  Find out how you can help here, or join in the conversation on the Jarrett’s Joy Cart Facebook page.

%d bloggers like this: